Be wise with your late-night snacking!
Acid reflux is a painful condition, one that affects up to 60% of the adult population every year (according to Healthline). That’s a lot of people having trouble sleeping! Acid reflux is the result of poor diet, excess weight, stress, smoking, and many other problems, but it’s most noticeably affected by your food choices. If you want to sleep better every night, here are the worst acid reflux foods to avoid before bed:
- Fried/fatty food — Anything that is greasy or fried will wreak havoc with your digestion, and is all but guaranteed to cause acid reflux as you lay down to sleep. These high-fat foods relax the esophageal sphincter, as well as increases the presence of acid in your stomach. The result: acid reflux problems!
- Alcohol –– Alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter, the muscle that holds your esophagus closed and prevents acid from washing back up. Alcohol increases the acidity of your stomach at the same time as it prevents your body from keeping your food where it belongs.
- Carbonated drinks — The carbonation in soda and beer is just one of the problems (by increasing stomach pressure); the real threat is the acidity of the high-sugar drinks. Beer is the worst: it relaxes your muscles AND increases acidity. Cut all carbonated drinks before bed. Plain water is the way to go!
- Cheese –– The high fat content of cheese forces your body to produce more acid to break down the fatty acids. The softer cheeses (think mozzarella and feta cheese) are the worst for your acid reflux problems, but it’s best to avoid all cheese after sunset.
- Coffee –– You shouldn’t be drinking coffee in the evening anyways! The caffeine in coffee will increase the production of stomach acid, thereby raising the level of your stomach contents and increasing the pressure on your esophageal sphincter. The high acidity of the coffee will only make things worse!
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- Chocolate –– This is a hard blow, but it’s a truth you have to hear. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that will increase acidity in your stomach. Add in the high fat content and the caffeine, and you have a triple threat all but guaranteed to cause acid reflux at night.
- Ice Cream –– Not only is ice cream rich in fat and milk (both of which cause acid reflux), but it’s a source of sugar. Sugar raises the acidity of your stomach contents, increasing the chance of acid reflux. It’s a late-night comfort food you have to avoid!
- Nuts –– Even though the fats in nuts are unsaturated, they are still hard for the body to digest and thus cause an increase in acid production. Peanuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts will all increase your risk of acid reflux, so it’s wise to avoid them in the hours leading up to bed time.
- Energy drinks –– Not only are these drinks usually loaded with stimulants (which increase stomach acid production), but they’re often carbonated. The carbonation increases the pressure in your stomach, pushing on the weakened esophageal sphincter muscle. The acidity of the drink only makes things worse!
- Citrus –– Citrus fruits are good for your health overall, but they’re terrible for acid reflux! They are some of the most acidic fruits on the planet, and they’ll lower the pH level of your stomach. Green apples, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines can all contribute to acid reflux, so it’s best to avoid eating these fruits late in the evening.